MOECC Posts Proposal for a New SO2 Standard and Associated Transitional Operating Conditions Requirements for Ontario

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On October 27, 2017, the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) posted the proposal to amend Ontario Regulation 419/05: Air Pollution - Local Air Quality (O. Reg. 419/05) to the Environmental Registry for sulphur dioxide (SO2). The proposed amendments would introduce updated air standards for SO2 and clarify the requirements for assessing operating conditions in O. Reg. 419/05. The phase-in period for the updated SO2 air standard is proposed to be five years.  A comment period of 45 days has been initiated and responses are required by December 11, 2017. The EBR Registry Number 013-0903 full post is available here.

The MOECC is proposing the following updates to the SO2 air emissions for O. Reg. 419.  Two documents have been prepared in order to support this proposed air standard: the Rationale for the development of Ontario Air Standards for Sulphur Dioxide (SO2)and the Science Discussion Document on the Development of Air Standards for Sulphur Dioxide (SO2).

The SO2 air standards are proposed as:

  • One hour (1-hr) standard of 100 μg/m3
  • Annual (year) standard of 10 μg/m3

The annual and 1 hour standards are proposed to be incorporated into Schedule 3 of O. Reg. 419/05.

This proposal also includes amendments to Schedule 6 for Upper Risk Thresholds (URTs) for SO2 and is proposed to be set at the level of the current SO2 air standards, namely:

  • 1-hour URT of 690 μg/m3 (section 20)
  • ½ hour URT of 830 μg/m3 (section 19)

Generally, URTs under O. Reg. 419/05 are not phased-in. Hence, there is no phase-in period proposed for the proposed SO2 URTs.

Transitional Operating Conditions

The proposed amendments also address section 10 of the Regulation and related guidance in Guideline A10: Procedure for Preparing an Emission Summary and Dispersion Modelling (ESDM) Report to clarify inconsistent interpretations, which includes that all facilities will need to consider scenarios that include start-up and shut-down and when the facility is operating at its maximum design capacity. All other scenarios, when a facility is operating normally, will also need to be considered.

Considerations for Consequential Amendments

As a result of the proposed amendments to the SO2 air standards, the MOECC is also reviewing the need for consequential amendments to Ontario Regulation 350: Lambton Industrial Meteorological Alerts (LIMA). LIMA (O. Reg. 350) was introduced in 1981 to address the impacts of multiple industrial sources of sulphur dioxide in the Sarnia area. More information on these considerations is available here.

For more information, please contact Marnie Freer.

Pre-Notification of Updates to Ontario’s Air Dispersion Models

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On Monday October 2, 2017,  the MOECC issued the pre-notification for updates to the air dispersion models utilized for Ontario Regulatio 419/05: Air Pollution - Local Air Quality.  The pre-notification details are provided below but can also be found at https://www.ontario.ca/page/pre-notification-updates-ontarios-air-dispersion-models

Ontario will be adopting new air dispersion models that are based on latest available science, to provide clarity and consistency to the regulated community and stakeholders.

Ontario’s local air quality regulation (O. Reg. 419/05: Air Pollution – Local Air Quality) under the Environmental Protection Act is part of the province’s air management framework. It regulates air contaminants released into communities by various sources, including local industrial and commercial facilities.

The regulation includes three compliance approaches for industry to demonstrate environmental performance and make improvements when required. Industry can:

  • meet the air standard
  • request and meet a site-specific standard,
  • or register and meet the requirements under a sector-based technical standard (if available).

Most Ontario facilities are regulated by the air standards compliance approach (i.e., meet the air standard), although all three approaches are allowable under the regulation. Models are part of the air standards and site-specific standards compliance approaches. Section 6 of O. Reg. 419/05 provides a list of approved dispersion models for use in assessing compliance with air standards or site-specific standards under the regulation. Currently, the approved dispersion models include:

1. The AERMOD dispersion model (version 14314) and AERMET meteorological preprocessor (version 14314) available from the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) website.

2. The ASHRAE method of calculation. Section 1(1) of O. Reg. 419/05 defines the “ASHRAE method of calculation” to mean the method of calculation described in Chapter 44 (Building Air Intake and Exhaust Design) of the 2015 ASHRAE Handbook — HVAC Applications, published by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers.

3. The SCREEN3 dispersion model on the USEPA’s website, or available from the MOECC.

4. The method of calculation required by the Appendix to Regulation 346, if section 19 of O. Reg. 419/05 applies to the discharges.

In addition, section 13 of O. Reg. 419/05 references regional surface and upper air meteorological data for use with AERMOD that must be processed by the AERMET computer program.

Under subsection 177 (6) of the Environmental Protection Act, the adoption of an amendment to a document that has been incorporated by reference (e.g. AERMOD/AERMET/ASHRAE), comes into effect once the MOECC publishes a notice of the amendment in either The Ontario Gazette or the Environmental Registry under the Environmental Bill of Rights (EBR), 1993.

Accordingly, in April 2018 the MOECC will be posting an Information Notice on the Environmental Registry to replace current regulatory air dispersion models under O. Reg. 419/05 with the following updated model versions:

  • AERMOD dispersion model
    • Will be updated to AERMOD version 16216r (version date December 20, 2016)
  • AERMET meteorological pre-processor
    • Will be updated to AERMET version 16216 (version date December 20, 2016), and
  • ASHRAE method of calculation
    • Will be updated to Chapter 45 (Building Air Intake and Exhaust Design) of the 2015 ASHRAE Handbook – HVAC Applications

The ministry will make the approved dispersion models available through the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) website.

Ontario Regional Meteorological data sets that have been reprocessed with AERMET 16216 (version date December 20, 2016) will also be available at the above noted website link once the Information Notice is posted on the Environmental Registry (under EBR). Until that time, proponents may request copies of the re-processed meteorological datasets from the Environmental Monitoring and Reporting Branch at MetDataENE@ontario.ca.

Because air dispersion models will continue to evolve in the future, MOECC developed an implementation plan for model version updates, with input from stakeholders, which provides clarity. Key elements of this annual process include the following:

  • Monitoring and assessing regulatory model update developments on an ongoing basis and discussing with stakeholders, as required.
  • Notifying stakeholders, every year, six months in advance of formally adopting updated versions of the models. This will give facilities time to determine if they will be affected by model updates and if so, to contact their local district office for assistance in developing a path forward, as needed.
  • Posting an Information Notice on the Environmental Registry (EBR) six months following pre-notification to formally adopt the updated model versions. We will adopt updated model versions annually as necessary.
  • Updating regulatory data files/instruments, and guidance materials to reflect the adoption of updated model versions, as necessary.

Additional information may also be obtained from:

Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change
Air Quality Monitoring and Transboundary Air Sciences Section
Environmental Monitoring and Reporting Branch
125 Resources Road, Toronto, ON M9P 3V6
E-mail: MetDataENE@ontario.ca
General Inquiries: 416-235-6171

For more information, please contact Penny McInnis.

Notice of Intent to Remove 83 Substances from the Non-domestic Substances List

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Notice of Intent to Remove 83 Substances from NDSLOn September 23, 2017, a Notice of Intent was published in the Canada Gazette, Part I to amend the Non-domestic Substances List (NDSL) of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA) to remove 83 substances. A list of the Chemical Abstract Services Registry Numbers of these 83 substances can be found in the Notice of Intent.

Comments must be submitted within 60 days of publication of the Notice of Intent. Provision of information on commercial activities that may be pertinent to this initiative should be included. In accordance with section 313 of CEPA, any person who provides information may submit, with the information, a request that it be treated as confidential.

All comments must cite the Canada Gazette, Part I, and the date of publication of the notice and be sent to following address:

By Mail

Executive Director, Program Development and Engagement Division
Environment and Climate Change Canada
Ottawa, ON K1A 0H3

By Messenger

Executive Director, Program Development and Engagement Division
Environment and Climate Change Canada
171 Jean-Proulx Street
Gatineau, QC J8Z 1W5

By Email